Listening To God

Day 5 of 10 • This day’s reading


How God Gets Our Attention

When we walk in the Spirit, alert to God, we hear what He’s saying to us as a natural part of our spiritual walk. This is the Christian life, living keenly responsive to the voice of God in whatever fashion He may choose to speak to us. 

Unfortunately, there are also times when we choose to do things our own way. As a result, we head in a direction that brings us to disaster or disappointment. God’s speaking, but we aren’t listening. We aren’t tuned in to Him. 

In these times, God often uses unusual means to get our attention. Prominent among them are:

1. A Restless Spirit — God has frequently used a persistent restlessness to direct me in my life. When I look back over my life and ministry, I can clearly see that every time God moved me from one pastorate to another, He caused me to feel restless for several months beforehand. That restlessness drove me to seek God so that, when the time came, I was ready to hear Him. 

2. An Unsolicited Word From Another Person — While not all messages from others are positive, I remember a time when a person said something to me that was very encouraging. I wasn’t expecting any compliment or word of affirmation, though I desperately needed one at the time. When I questioned the Lord about it, He let me see that He cared so much for me that He used someone who was almost a stranger to tell me so, in order that He might startle me into paying attention.

3. Unusual Circumstances (Both Bad & Good) — Circumstances can set us up to open our hearts to God and turn our attention fully toward Him. While not all circumstances are caused by God, I’ve seen numerous examples in my ministry of illness, accidents, bankruptcies, divorces, and unusual blessings of abundance bring people to their knees and to a total reliance on Christ, sometimes for the first time in their lives.

4. Unanswered Prayers — While God answers many of our prayers in the way in which we desire, sometimes He’ll delay an answer or answer a prayer with a definitive “no” in order to get our attention or keep us from straying off course. He knows that when all of our prayers seem to be answered, we may become complacent and simply cruise through life without listening to what He desires to say to us. 

There’s no such thing as an accident with God. The Father may use many different methods to get our attention and keep us in alignment with His will for our lives. But we must always remember that He knows exactly what’s best for us, and He’ll never quit trying to reach us so that He can guide us into the wonderful plans and purposes He has in store for each of us (Jer. 29:11).